Using the Holidays to Heal
Life is a wonderful experience, a miracle that we are blessed to partake in each day we remain in our bodily vessels. Life is not without pain, however, and sometimes we experience pain so deep and severe that we aren’t sure we can recover. They say time heals all wounds, but this can feel like an impossibility for someone so mired in pain that they can’t see beyond it.
Are you feeling stressed during the holiday season? There is happiness and laughter on the other side of this pain, and this article will help you find it. The holidays can be particularly painful for those of us who are alone or reeling from the loss of a loved one, a departed friend, a terminated relationship; the bright lights and warm smiles feel almost hostile when we are entrenched in hurt and suffering.
In lieu of letting these holidays be a space of suffering, I suggest you use this time to begin the healing process. The energy of the holidays is one that is both giving and forgiving, grateful and accepting. People are filled with joy and familial vibes, making the setting a perfect one for creating an atmosphere of repairing your aching heart.
The following are ideas for using this time to soothe your wounds and gather the strength to make it through this rough spot.
One of the aspects of the holidays that makes it a wonderful time for healing is the family element; beginning around Thanksgiving. People are much more likely to gather with their friends and loved ones. Yours may not be a traditional family, as you may live far away from your kin; however, the family you’ve chosen and created is essential for your healing process.
When we are so down and out, it feels almost impossible to imagine opening up and talking about your painful experiences and what you’re going through. Yet, it is one of the easiest ways to immediately reduce the weight you’re carrying upon your shoulders.
You might feel like a gathering is an inappropriate time to share your struggles, and while you may not wish to air your grievances right after the ham is carved, it is easy and entirely appropriate to speak quietly with one or two of your loved ones about what you’re going through.
You can take someone aside if you feel more comfortable, and explain that you need to talk, or give someone a call and ask them to get a holiday-spiced cup of coffee with you. Your friends and family will understand you aren’t trying to bring down the holiday fun, but you’re experiencing something beyond your scope of familiarity, and you need to get your troubles off your chest.
Sometimes, just giving a name to our problems reduces their power. By recognizing and acknowledging your issues, you create a space of balance. Your pain will be slightly alleviated simply by sharing your truth with others.
Soak Up the Vibes
Try distracting yourself with holiday-themed events. One of the wonderful things about the holidays is that there are so many, from various cultures, to celebrate. This time of year is typically associated with Christmas, yet Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Yule and many other holidays take place around the same time.
This means even more events and social gatherings to attend. You may feel like dragging your feet, like getting out of the house won’t help and that you’d rather stay in bed, but you’d be surprised how quickly other’s joy can affect your mood. Doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone right now is essential, because pain itself is discomfort.
Wallowing in your suffering alone, at home, will do nothing to heal your aching heart. When you’re left alone with your thoughts during a crisis, it’s too easy to focus on all the things that are upsetting you. Getting out and about, surrounded by celebration and a cacophony of happiness and merriment, you can’t help but soak some of that feeling in.
Try attending a play like the Nutcracker, or a tree-lighting ceremony. You’ll be grateful for the experience and you might even make some new friends.
Do For Others
Another amazing thing about the holidays is the increased sense of generosity in most people. This is the time of year when people are their most giving, when everyone wants to reach out and give of themselves unto others. This is a wonderful time to step outside of your sadness and spread love and joy to others, and there are so many ways to give.
You could volunteer at a senior citizen’s center, or your local animal shelter; you could give your time to your local soup kitchen; you could bake a pie for your elderly neighbor or donate toys to the police station for children in need. Giving your time and energy to entities who need it, be it humans or animals, will leave you filled with a sense of peace.
Doing something for others will revitalize your spirit and take your mind off the people or events that have got you down, and the happiness you’ve given to others will be returned to your spirit through gratitude and appreciation. This time of year can provide significant healing energy, and you would be wise to use it to your benefit.
There is no sense in spending the holidays feeling sad and alone when you are surrounded by people who care for you and want to see you happy and healthy. Your thoughts and feelings are valid, but mending your broken heart is critical. You deserve to be happy, and you will move past this tough time. Let the holidays shower you in the joy and warmth that you deserve.
Related Article: How to Manage Mental Health at the Holidays